The World Tour Finals was unexpected. I had a bad shoulder going into the event and I didn’t have great expectations. It got better match by match and the feeling in the end was really overwhelming, especially because we got so much support from the crowd and from home.
We are a young partnership (with Marc Lopez) and we will continue playing together, so sooner or later I hope we will go all the way.
I have worked constantly during the last years and didn’t have many ups and downs. My mental strength has improved thanks to all the matches that I’ve played on a high level and thanks to the day to day work.
The funniest guys are probably Feliciano Lopez or Marc Lopez; you laugh a lot with them. Impossible to find a serious one outside the court, we make fun of each other all the time, although we don’t do crazy things. Video game champions are probably David (Ferrer), Rafael (Nadal) and Marc (Lopez). When we go out we always split the bill, just like regular friends.
I am very good friends with most of the Spanish players. We know each other since we were under 12 or so. It is long-time friendships that will surely last after the end of our tennis careers. Marc (Lopez) is my best friend.
When I am tense or really tired I grunt sometimes. But it is not something I think of, it just happens.
I hope that I can keep up this level for a long time. I don’t know if I will be able to play that long. I have lot of respect for those players that can still deliver great tennis into their 40s. I am constantly playing singles and doubles but I doubt that I will last that long.
I believe that players will play more from the baseline and hit harder and harder.
The courts are getting slower everywhere now, even the grass is slowing down. Two years ago the courts at Paris Bercy were really fast, but they made those slower now too.
I want to keep improving my game. It is difficult to set yourself a ranking target, because everybody is working hard out there and there are a lot of young players coming through. Let’s say that I want to keep being seeded at the slams and slowly move forward.
I have a good physical base, I have great endurance and I like to work on it. What we improved in the years is my speed and coordination.
I try to have always four new racquets each match so that I don’t need to string while I am playing. I usually go up a bit in tension when I play on hard court. Let’s say normally on clay I string between 24-23 kg, and then on hard court I am stringing 25-24 kg.
I love working out every day, but I need competition. If I don’t compete I get bored of practicing. I try to get nine hours of sleep, never less than eight.
I don’t have a diet, I just stay away from fats and try to eat fruit and vegetables. I normally have a snack before the match, then I go back to the locker room with Fernando Vicente, we speak a bit about the match and we wait together, away from people and the noise.
I never really thought about quitting. But there was a period a few years ago, when I saw everybody so much stronger than myself and I talked myself down a lot. I was starting to play qualifying at the slams and doubted if I would ever make it.
I love traveling and I like to have a look around when I go places. I like to meet new people.
I didn’t have any idols but I liked Marat Safin, Carlos Moya and Lleyton Hewitt.
I moved to that club (The Open de Godo in Barcelona) when I was 12 years old and have been a member ever since. I used to go and watch the tournament with my dad and it’s a nice feeling to play it with all my family watching, even those who never travel with me.
The level of Spanish tennis has never been this high in our history, so it will be difficult to keep it up for the next generation. There are some good, young players like Javier Marti, but it takes many years to move from juniors to pro tennis so they need some more time.
Outside of the court I am quite relaxed, I sleep a lot and enjoy life. I take my time to eat, talk and do things slowly. Once I get on the court things change, then the competitor comes out and my energy level rises. I become really active and intense.
Winning here (the title at the Valencia Open )has been the biggest achievement in my whole career.
I arrive in Barcelona after playing my best tennis in Monte Carlo. I entered the main draw as lucky loser and did not feel pressured at all.
Playing in Barcelona is very special for the Catalan and Spanish players. Our family and friends are here and can support us, which also adds some pressure for us.
It is great to play Davis Cup, especially with these team members, incredible sport icons. Davis Cup is always sold out in Spain and people really feel it. I enjoyed staying at the Olympic village, seeing how other athletes live and worked. It was a unique chance to become friends with other sports personalities.
(My favorite place to visit is) anywhere where I can find the sea, the beach and a good temperature.
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